Monday, May 23, 2011

Colors Of Marvin Key

Pulling up to Marvin Key 20 minutes north of Sugarloaf Key sets off the range of colors found in Nature around here. Looking over the side of the boat the sand is only three feet down.
On a falling tide the sand bars are slowly surfacing as the waters recede.A few boats in the main channel, some birds and not much else.
Hunting for lunch, no water around here is as deep as it seems it might be.
Blue skies, blue waters and a few mangrove bushes.

The main party zone is out of ear shot tucked up in the mangroves off the big beach.The rest of the mangroves are deserted.
Infinite sky and water and sand.
"Look at the strip of turquoise water," Wayne said. So I took a picture.
And it probably looks much like this today and will tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow.

iPad Luddite



David is my FedEx guy and he brings me all the stuff that makes our lives better or more complex, depending upon your point of view. He's been in the keys since 1992 and he seems to enjoy it. He always has a cheerful word or a big smile when he stops by.It's starting to look like vacation time in the Keys and David mentioned he's taking two weeks off next month. London and Venice are on the itinerary and he's never been to either before. How to summarize either or both in a brief encounter? I said London is the city where anything goes anytime and see all the famous sites you can. Venice I said is like Key West with worse parking problems- boat docks are strictly for residents only. He laughed, but as he put it it's a hell of a lot of cultural variety in the space of two weeks. Two extremes indeed.I'm looking forward already to hearing his impressions when he gets back. Meanwhile my dog, not terribly keen to get too far from the air conditioning on this gray muggy afternoon peered down from the deck at our transaction.David brought me my wife's latest thoughtful gift to encourage me to keep blogging further afield. A first generation iPad which has become affordable ($300 delivered I think with one year warranty) and I hope will be useful. I am not very technically inclined but with wireless capability only I think it will prove to be useful. We are slow consumers as we had spent a year pondering the wisdom of this purchase even after I saw my first iPad that a colleague bought immediately after they came out. Hmm, I thought, that could be handy. And waited to think it through.Well we shall see if I can master the intricacies of Apple's computing systems. Heaven help me. Hmm... www.itunes.com/download ...where the hell is that?

Clouds Over Water

I have a tendency to look skyward anytime I am outdoors in the Florida Keys. I can never get enough of the clouds by day and even on moon lit nights the clouds slide across the sky like webs of quick silver.So far this year the rainy season has held off and winter didn't produce as much sky dram as I might have liked, so the clouds though puffy are not dark and menacing as they might be if they promised much needed rain.Hanging out on sand bar the clouds make a dramatic back drop. The texture of the clouds varies between white puffy balls and curtains of wispy fog overhead.Yesterday we had some wort of weird stringy cirrus that covered half the sky for a while.Flying down to the Caribbean from Miami I have seen row upon row of round white puffy balls of clouds marching across underneath the plane as though in formation. They are the clouds produced by the warm moisture and the steady breezes of the tropical trade winds and they make quite the spectacle. The cloud formations look unreal to me, like a painted back drop over the water.I am still waiting for the big black clouds of summer rains to form overhead. Then I will be busy with the camera.

Marvin Key

Another Sunday, another boat ride with the boys and their 21 foot cabin cruiser.The low tide for Marvin Key, 20 minutes north of Sugarloaf Key, was around noon yesterday and we planned to take advantage of it. The sandy beaches here are spectacular but they only appear at low tide.The wife and I stopped at Five Brothers on Ramrod Key for Cuban breakfast sandwiches and we wolfed them down at Wayne and Chuck's place before we left, closely monitored by all three dogs. The Chuck piloted us out across the turquoise waters to Marvin with the intention of arriving before the hordes got off their knees and into their boats with stereos and much shouting always in attendance. It turns out Wayne and Chuck know a small sandbar up a dead end creek which offers deep water swimming close by and tons of privacy. The only trouble we had was getting Princess Chuck off the boat without getting his feet wet. Cheyenne is quite fond of Wayne and she went for a walk with him across the sand which left me bereft, but stoic.Zuzu (or Tootie I can't tell the Vizlas apart) did a very good imitation of me looking stoic.We swam, we talked, we napped we swam some more and we lamented our decision not bring nourishment to this lonely outpost. I could strangled someone for a packet of potato chips; why chips I don't know but I got a sudden craving. Wayne craved sleep.Eventually we got our stuff together, put the chairs back in the boat, poured the dogs in after them and took off for home about three hours after we arrived. We were still alone on our sandbar, though the more well known parts of Marvin Key were getting the inhabited look of a sunny Keys weekend.Chuck drove us home, parked the boat with a flourish and for his next trick whipped a pizza out of the fridge and Wayne set it to heating on the pizza stone in their grill. "Hmm," Chuck said thoughtfully. "The crust is too whole wheat and didn't rise properly." I barely heard him as I was drifting off into the land of Nod on his hammock. A strenuous Sunday indeed.

Pirates Of The Keys

I noticed with some surprise there is a new Pirates of the Caribbean movie appearing in theaters across the country, including in Key West, for no longer is the southernmost city beyond the reach of first run films.I grew tired of the franchise after the first film which I found charming. The second film was burden with plot and self congratulatory smirking and I walked out half way through. I shall not go to see this latest effort even though Solares Hill tells us earnestly it is less labored and more fun in the style of the first film. I am not a fan of pirates anyway, especially not the Disneyesque kind though I like to think I should have been a cheerful pirate three hundred years ago. Imagine a society where color race and creed amounted to nothing in the hierarchy, where leaders were elected and a days work consisted of going sailing. No brown pirate would have been required to produce a birth certificate to join the crew. And pirates were outcasts and societal left overs in the first place. The more I think on it the more I like the idea.
Much is made of key West's history as a pirate lair which I do not believe to have been the case. Commodore Porter was sent by the US Government to get ride of piracy in the Straits of Florida after Key West was incorporated in 1828 and he did a fine job. However he was rather too dour for key West even back then, 150 years before Fantasy Fest was invented and they sent him packing, just an short while after he sent the pirates on their way.
Nowadays these islands are a retreat for the wealthy and will doubtless become the retreat for the even wealthier as the economic divide grows wider. $1500 a night at Little Palm? No problem! Though why they advertise such a place on a bus shelter of all places I can hardly imagine. My wife thinks there is a message also in the fact that during the recent US One Radio auction they were selling off cheap brunches ($100) and certificates for dinners. Not exactly piracy because I've never had dinner there but their brunch is really quite excellent.